Determined to get a ton: Mahela

On his previous tour, in 2005, he made four half-centuries in five innings without kicking on, so it was no surprise to hear him rate his 27th Test ton very highly. “Given the situation and playing against India in India, that’s high up in my effort,” the 32-year-old told newsmen.

“I had a couple of fifties on the last tour and I was disappointed at not getting a hundred. I was determined to get my first hundred here. I am very happy and the team situation is very good as well.”

Since taking over the captaincy in May 2006 – he gave up the job earlier this year to focus on his batting – Jayawardene has scored 14 of his 27 hundreds. “With captaincy came a bit more responsibility,” he admitted.

“But after playing for so many years, I have realised what my strengths and weaknesses are, how to manage my innings and how to build an innings. Even before, I was doing the right things but making too many mistakes. Once you get to a stage, you realise how to pace your innings, how to attack and how to play on different surfaces.”

Well placed to push on and score their first Test win in India, Jayawardene said the Lankans had come well prepared this time. “We had a very realistic plan of beating India with the team we had and with the way we have been playing Test cricket in the last two to three years,” he observed. “But we shouldn’t put too much pressure on ourselves. Our ambition is to win here, but there are processes that we need to go through. We have done that in the first three days and we need to keep doing that. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us, we should just take session by session. If we do that, the result will be with us.”

Refusing to castigate India for their negative line in the post-tea session, Jayawardene said, “They were trying to not to give us much of a lead today. You can even pick up wickets in that manner. Teams use different tactics and you have to adjust accordingly.”
His take on the surface? “Things can happen on a fourth and fifth-day wicket. They are under pressure and that can create opportunities. There will be deterioration, we will see whether we can take advantage of that. There will be added pressure on the Indian batsmen as well. The spinners have to be more consistent, though Murali and Rangana have been bowling really well in the last few months.”

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